Autism & ASD – Marys Journey

Autism & ASD - Marys Journey

Conor’s Journey

Conor who is four years old and has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, has been receiving therapy at the First Step Therapy Centre since April 2008.

Read about the gains he has made since then and read about the progress his Mother has seen also.

Presenting Conditions

Conor has a diagnosis of Autism with low muscle tone and muscle weakness in the upper and lower limbs, postural imbalance, difficulty speaking, a flat foot, hypersensitivity to superficial and deep touch and dispraxia.

Treatment Approach

Strength training using weights totalling 4-5kg, with pulleys, in the Universal Exercise Unit (Cage).

Strength training using active assisted exercise as per D’Lomers Rule – for trunk and upper and lower limbs.

Co-ordinated exercise programme and play therapy.

Swiss Ball Programme for core stability for trunk muscles.

Foot correction by advising the use of orthotics.

Techniques Used

Strength Training

Propreoceptive Neuro-facilitation techniques (PNF)

Core Stabilisation

Further Plans of Treatment

To Improve strength and endurance in upper and lower limbs.

To improve gait and to increase core stability in trunk.

To co-ordinate activity in upper limbs.

Treatment Summary

Number of visits so far: 21

Conor started with 4kg of weight for strengthening, using suspension therapy in the cage. All groups of the upper and lower limb muscles were strengthened with 150 repetitions given. Core strengthening and rocking exercises were adopted for improving the abdomen and trunk muscles. Later an obstacle programme was started for improving his co-ordination.

The following improvements were seen:

After the first 4 weeks, the tone of the muscle was improved from fair to good, where he was able to co-ordinate upper limb functions in response to lower limb activities.

From the 6th week, he was able to jump on the trampoline and started to climb stairs in his house, which he was not able to do before.

From the 8th week, he was able to roll on the mat and was able to understand the commands.

From 12th week, he was able stabilise himself on the therapy ball and was able to stay on the ball for 20 minutes.

From 16th week, he was able to co-ordinate upper limbs for his daily activates like eating and drinking juice from a bottle.

By 20th week, he was able to do all activities and able to follow the commands and whilst still non-verbal, he is able to express what he likes and what he does not.

By the 22nd week, his muscle tone was well improved in his upper and lower limbs and his parents were expressing how his body has now got a good shape and his walking has improved a lot. His hand function, grip and holding has improved as well.

Conor is still continuing in the First Step Programme for his Dispraxia.

At present his programme has been adapted to improve his all-round activities and also to improve his muscle power and bulk of the muscle. Frenkel’s Exercises have been commenced for his upper limb co-ordination and for the complex functions of his shoulder and hand.

Conor’s Mother writes…

“Conor was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at 2 years and 6 months. He is now 4 years and 9 months and has been attending the First Step Therapy Centre for 6 months.

After an initial detailed assessment, an individualised therapy programme was set up for Conor using weight bearing exercises on his legs and various other floor exercises to improve his stamina on both arms and legs, focusing on his mobility, balance and co-ordination, gait, strength and flexibility.

He has made significant gains in these past months with his therapy. He is now steadier on his feet and both his walking and running has improved. The tendency for him to run aimlessly and flap his hands is now much less.

He can now walk upstairs and downstairs holding the banister unaided, rather than shuffle on his bottom. He is less cautious in the playground and now uses slides and is crawling through tunnels. He uses the trampoline appropriately at home, jumping with two legs in circular movements around the trampoline. His stamina in both his legs and arms has greatly improved. He has just completed an ‘obstacle course’ walking over large soft play shapes in the exercise room on his own for the first time and is now seeking out equipment, for which to play on.

On arrival to his therapy, he now willingly runs in and co-operates fully with the therapist. Conor is non-verbal, so as a parent this is solid proof that he enjoys his time here and has built up a trusting relationship with the therapist.

I would recommend to anyone who may have concerns about their child to contact the First Step Therapy Centre for advice.”

Conor continues to come for treatment and is steadily improving in all aspects of his condition.